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Neuropsychiatry

Research group leader: Professor Michael D Kopelman

Contact email: michael.kopelman@kcl.ac.uk

The main focus of the research undertaken by the Section of Neuropsychiatry is memory disorder – ranging from amnesic syndromes as a result of head injury, stroke or brain disease, to different types of dementia, confabulation (false memories as a result of brain damage), other sorts of false memory and psychogenic amnesia.

The Section’s head, Professor Michael Kopelman, is internationally known for work in this field and is lead clinician at the Neuropsychiatry and Memory Disorders Clinic run by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). People from all over the country are referred to this specialist clinic.

Both the Clinic and the Section are based at St Thomas’ Hospital, facilitating close links between clinical practice and research work. Patients with memory disorders referred to the Clinic are, for example, currently participating in a trial to gauge the efficacy and viability of a Memory Aids Clinic, also at St Thomas’ Hospital. This project is funded by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity: other major funders of the Section’s research over the years include the The Wellcome Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council.

The Section seeks to understand how memory works and why it malfunctions by recruiting people with memory disorders to take part in cognitive testing and brain imaging studies. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning is carried out at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, jointly run by the IoP and SLaM on the Denmark Hill campus, while PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning is carried out at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Research in the Section looks at memory disorders as a result of psychological as well as neurological causes. Collaborative work, for example, has been undertaken about false confessions for crime with Gisli Gudjonsson, Professor of Forensic Psychology at the IoP.

Professor Kopelman is co-editor of two reference books in the field of memory disorders: The Handbook of Memory Disorders, Second Edition, and The Essential Handbook of Memory Disorders for Clinicians, both published by John Wiley and Sons.

A past President of the British Neuropsychological Society and of the International Neuropsychiatric Association, Professor Kopelman was a founder member of the Memory Disorders Research Society. This is a professional society dedicated to the study of memory and memory disorders, with members from the US, Canada, France, Germany and Italy as well as the UK.

Professor Kopelman is on the Executive Committee of the International Neuropsychiatric Association and has served on the Board of the International Neuropsychological Society.

He currently supervises three PhD students: any potential students with a particular interest in memory disorders who are interested in undertaking research in the Section should contact him, Michael.Kopelman@kcl.ac.uk.

The Section of Neuropsychiatry is part of the Department of Psychological Medicine within the Division of Academic Psychiatry.

Section of Neuropsychiatry
Department of Psychological Medicine
3rd Floor, Adamson Centre for Mental Health
South Wing
St Thomas’s Hospital
London SE1 7EH.

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